chapter  3
24 Pages

Mathematical Moments and Mathematical Lives: Doing Mathematics at Northdown School

In the previous two chapters, I considered how theory and research enables us to capture how particular experiences contribute to mathematical identities, and how learners position themselves, and are positioned, within the available discourses occurring in the context of classroom, institutional and peer cultures. In this chapter, I explore the development of individual mathematics identity trajectories, focusing on an analysis of secondary school students’ narrativization of learning and doing mathematics. The analysis is organized by set (i.e. “ability” group) membership and focuses on the students’ positioning and selfpositionings with respect to the range of beliefs about ability, gender differentiation and the nature of mathematics as they occurred within these groups. The stories they tell thus provide a means of mapping their shifting mathematics identities as they draw on these various discourses to make sense of their experience. The Year 7 analysis acts as a “mixed abilities baseline” against which the Year 9 and 10 groups can be compared.